It’s almost like a broken record. Man shoots up school, or Waffle House, or fill-in-the-blank, and we immediately launch into a debate about guns. Obviously if the police were carrying guns when they finally apprehended this monster then guns aren’t the problem. Crazy is the problem.
Once again there were alarm bells going off all around this guy who shot up the Waffle House. Arrested for trespassing after he went to the White House and insisted on taking a meeting the president. There are reports that he threatened people with his gun. Finally, the sheriff’s deputies pay him a visit at his father’s crane company and take away his guns and his gun permit. They leave the guns in the custody of his father with strict instructions not to give them back to his son. What does this idiot do? He gives the guns back to his son, even after he, himself, had alerted the police that his son thought he was being stalked by Taylor Swift and was suicidal.
They say you can’t fix stupid and that may be true, but you can sure put stupid in jail. I’m not a lawyer, but I can’t imagine how this father is not charged with accessory to murder. He’s like the guy behind the wheel in the getaway car at the bank robbery. Something goes wrong and somebody’s killed and this driver is going to be charged with murder.
Nashville’s acting mayor was immediately on Twitter after the Waffle House killings calling for a ban on ‘military weapons.’ It may very well be that his ‘military weapon’ jammed on him, giving James Shaw, Jr. the split-second opportunity to wrest the gun away from him. Had he used the pistol that was in his possession instead, such an opportunity may never have presented itself.
And what a juxtaposition between James Shaw and Camera Hogg down in Florida. Shaw truly is a survivor of a mass shooting. Hogg was not even on the scene when the bullets were flying. Camera Hogg has exploited the tragedy to get his face on every network multiple times. Shaw has shunned the spotlight and says he doesn’t want this event to define his life. Camera Hogg has turned the Parkland tragedy into a traveling one-man show about him. James Shaw, on the other hand, has started a fundraiser for the victims because he believes that’s where the focus should be.
The focus on solutions should be on the mentally ill. I’ve written in this space about how much things changed after the 1975 Supreme Court ruling. However, we’re missing the main point of that ruling. They said you can’t lock up the mentally ill against their will unless they’re a danger to themselves or others. I would think taking away someone’s guns indicates they’re a danger to themselves or others. Why was this guy not committed?
Think about that. If he’d been committed as he should’ve been then four people would be alive and this guy could be getting the treatment he needs. Too late for all of that now.
I would urge every single person reading this column to get off the sidelines and start reporting dangerous people. I’m not talking about Trump supporters or Hillary supporters or NRA members, as some fear will happen. I’m talking about people who are obviously unbalanced and are doing or saying things that would make them a danger to themselves or others.
I’m not talking about locking up everybody who thinks Taylor Swift is stalking them. But they sure don’t need to own guns.
Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, The Phil Valentine Show.